The Very Tiny Terrorist

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

British airport officials have apparently received intelligence that Al Qaeda is recruiting an army of nine-inch terrorists.

Airport officials ordered a holidaymaker carrying a toy soldier onto a plane to remove its three-inch gun – because it was a safety threat.

Ken Lloyd was stunned when he was told he could not go on the plane with the nine-inch model soldier because it was carrying a ‘firearm’.

The Canadian tourist and his wife had bought the toy, which holds a replica SA80 rifle, during a visit to the Royal Signals Museum at Blandford Camp in Dorset.

But when he tried to take the £135 keepsake through Gatwick Airport in his hand luggage it triggered a security alert at the scanners…

Officials declared the moulded gun could not go on the plane and Mr Lloyd had to snap off the model weapon and then post it back to his home in Ontario.

He said: ‘As the figurine’s SA80 rifle was pulled from the box, the security search officer contacted her supervisor. The moulded SA80 could not pass.

‘My wife asked for a “reality check”, explaining how this offending piece of sculptured moulding is a 9 inch painted model with a moulded and painted rifle that is part of the figure.

‘The supervisor was confident within the surety of the regulations and said a “firearm” is a firearm and cannot pass.

MORE:  Meanwhile . . .

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51 Responses to “The Very Tiny Terrorist”

  1. #1 |  Ed Kline | 

    Except it’s not a ‘firearm’ of course, it’s a miniature replica. It nearly as bad as ticketing a child for driving down the wrong side of the road because he was carrying a Hot Wheels car while walking facing oncoming traffic.

  2. #2 |  Mo | 

    Shouldn’t the definition of a “firearm” include the ability to fire?

  3. #3 |  Juice | 

    Jesus.

  4. #4 |  Bob | 

    Another merciless Al Queda plot foiled! Do you feel safe, now?

  5. #5 |  Chris in AL | 

    Of course, if the miniature replica firearm is a firearm, then the miniature replica person is a person. They are lucky they were not made to buy the toy soldier an airline ticket.

  6. #6 |  Bad Medicine | 

    Next time I fly I’m going to make finger guns and see if they make my snap my hands off…

  7. #7 |  Aresen | 

    Comedy gold!

  8. #8 |  Burdell | 

    The supervisor must have a personal interest in maintaining that “small is the same as normal-size”.

  9. #9 |  Z | 

    #6 that will be a sure way to get arrested for intimidating the hallowed TSA officials.

    See this is the whole problem with this nonsense: people want automatons to carry out one size fits all security for free.

  10. #10 |  Tom Barkwell | 

    It’s reassuring to know that bureaucrats are stupid the world over, not just here in USA.

  11. #11 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    For us here in the States..
    The term “firearm” is defined in the Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Section 921(a)(3), to include “(A) any weapon (including a starter gun), which will, or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon….”
    http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/firearms-technology.html

  12. #12 |  ktc2 | 

    Hmm…so by that definition a rail gun is not a firearm as there is no “explosive”.

  13. #13 |  derfel cadarn | 

    Sorry for the profanity,but FUCKING MORONS!!!!!

  14. #14 |  pris | 

    The real question is ‘How is Al Queda producing the 9 inch terrorist?’

  15. #15 |  Pablo | 

    We can’t get too smug because this type of thing certainly happens here. There was a girl in the news a few years ago who was suspended from school for bringing a Tweety Bird key chain to school. It had a narrow chain about 3 inches long and all chains are “weapons” so of course due to “zero tolerance” she had to be suspended for carrying a weapon. Im not sure how the case eventually turned out.

    #11 Mike–interestingly, the last time I looked federal law excluded black powder/percussion/muzzle loading guns from their definition of a firearm, e.g. convicted felons could own one. A Colt Walker or Army .44 is a fairly powerful weapon. Same applies to crossbows. I’ve advised a few clients over the years regarding what type of weapons they could and could not legally own.

  16. #16 |  Mattocracy | 

    I though England was reducing their police state now that Labour is our of power…

  17. #17 |  Tweets that mention The Very Tiny Terrorist | The Agitator -- Topsy.com | 

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Moshe Glickman, The Advocates, Joshua Davis, George Wallace, FoxArtCultTech and others. FoxArtCultTech said: The Very Tiny Terrorist http://goo.gl/fb/viBTc […]

  18. #18 |  Aresen | 

    pris | January 27th, 2011 at 12:02 pm
    The real question is ‘How is Al Queda producing the 9 inch terrorist?’

    “Is that a banana or a terrorist in your pocket?”

  19. #19 |  Stephen | 

    There are actually some very small guns that WILL shoot. You might be able to put somebody’s eye out with one.

  20. #20 |  Stephen | 

    These would actually be firearms by US law.

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1787433/worlds_smallest_pistol_austria_2mm_pinfire_miniature_guns/

  21. #21 |  Brandon | 

    “Oy, you can’t take that firearm on the plane!”
    “Firearm? It’s a 3 inch replica!”
    “IT’S NOT THE SIZE THAT MATTERS! IT’S NOT THE SIZE THAT MATTERS! IT’S NOT THE SIZE THAT MATTERS!” (Curls up into a ball and sucks thumb)

  22. #22 |  Law Prof | 

    The danger level is exactly the same as that from a 7 inch stainless steel Cross pen (someone could stab you in the brain through your eye orbit). The pens are allowed as are knitting needles.

    So, BTW are the twin 72 inch paracord laces on my boots. Imagine what a graduate of infantry AIT could do with those. As my DI liked to shout “YOU are your primary weapon. YOU are never unarmed.”

    But, it’s the UK. Brits wet their pants at the sight of a “gun”, toy or otherwise. A nation of wooossies.

  23. #23 |  J sub D | 

    Security theater. Coming soon to train and bus stations near you.

  24. #24 |  EH | 

    Stupidity is a feature of airport security and appearances are its most important product. It simply doesn’t matter if the security person can’t tell a toy from a gun. However, I do see their side on this: what if this gun was submerged in water and grew to life-size?

  25. #25 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    #15 As far as I understand it, those weapons they were allowed to posses were “antique firearms”, which do not come under the need to file ATF paperwok on purchase. If I had completed the quote from the 1968 Gun Control Act..
    The GCA defines the term “firearm” as:
    (A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive;
    (B) the frame or
    receiver of any such weapon;
    (C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer;
    or (D) anydestructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.

    As defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(16) the term “antique firearm” means —


    A.any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; or
    B.any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A) if such replica — i. is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or
    ii.uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade; or
    C.any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term ‘antique firearm’ shall not include any weapon which incorporates a firearm frame or receiver, any firearm which is converted into a muzzle loading weapon, or any muzzle loading weapon, which can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination thereof.

  26. #26 |  roy | 

    The “meanwhile” aside seems a bit snide. That guy didn’t take guns on a plane in his carry-on. They were in his checked bags. It’s a failure enforcing licensing and customs, not a failure to secure the airplane.

  27. #27 |  A.G. Pym | 

    Don’t forget that the ATF also declared a wallet-shaped holster (the “surprise wallet”) for a derringer as a firearm, too.

  28. #28 |  Pete Guither | 

    “I love the smell of polyurethane in the morning.” – Major Chip Hazard

  29. #29 |  Chuchundra | 

    I don’t think this is anything new. I’m pretty sure that toy or replica guns have been forbidden on planes for a while.

    I remember, as a kid, getting pulled aside from airport security for having a small, metal, cap gun on my person. This would have been the late 70’s or so.

  30. #30 |  PersonFromPorlock | 

    #11 | Mike Leatherwood | January 27th, 2011 at 11:47 am

    For us here in the States..
    The term “firearm” is defined in the Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Section 921(a)(3), to include “(A) any weapon (including a starter gun), which will, or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon….”

    Interestingly, smokeless powder isn’t an explosive. Not that it would do you any good to argue the point….

  31. #31 |  Jeff | 

    Meanwhile…
    http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/state&id=7887755

  32. #32 |  CyniCAl | 

    And so security theatre has fully progressed to security theatre of the absurd.

  33. #33 |  Mark Draughn | 

    #30/PersonFromPorlock, Smokeless powder may be a deflagrant, but the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (not as much fun as it sounds) treats it as an explosive for regulatory purposes. Just how the ATF draws the line between the explosive-like deflagration of gunfire, the less explosive-like deflagration of something like a model rocket engine or a flare, and the totally non-explosive deflagration of say, a campfire, isn’t real clear.

  34. #34 |  Danny | 

    It’s so weird it’s hard to believe.

    My preliminary hypothesis: the TSA has a pathological set of office politics, such that the frontline employees are watching their backs with utter paranoia, and thinking that any little thing, even some tiny-scale replica of a gun, could be used by a supervisor to take adverse employment action against them.

  35. #35 |  keith | 

    the 9 inch terrorist . . . that’s what the ladies call me.

    *rimshot*
    thank you. thank you very much.

  36. #36 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Actually, the rule against firearm-shaped-objects is because of several incidents of people trying to take replica weapons in hand luggage. It’s probably not a well-written regulation, but the *intent* is against replicas of any sort.

    The airline doesn’t have a choice, it gets to follow the regs.

    Also, Mattocracy? No, they’re just dismantling the accountability mechanisms which allowed people to easily track the government’s record.

  37. #37 |  Judi | 

    I can’t even dignify this with a response.

  38. #38 |  Headline: Airport Security Good Only as a Target of Mockery « The TrogloPundit | 

    […] Memeorandum. Also, in the comments at The Agitator: Of course, if the miniature replica firearm is a firearm, then the miniature replica person is a […]

  39. #39 |  Kevin Carson | 

    I got your nine-inch terrorist right here.

  40. #40 |  cw | 

    A little molded piece of plastic isn’t any more a firearm that a photograph of a firearm. Will they confiscate photographs next? What absurd tyranny the government brings to our lives!

  41. #41 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    #40 | cw | January 27th, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    They have already kept people with mere pictures of guns on their clothing from boarding planes.

  42. #42 |  Marty | 

    after reading the gun smuggling article, I’m kicking myself AGAIN for not capitalizing on these money making opportunities! profits available with cigarettes, 4loco, marijuana, guns, etc and I’m broke. Maybe I’ll look into the bath soap thing…

  43. #43 |  SJE | 

    How about a plastic model of a brain, since that is what the TSA is most afraid of.

  44. #44 |  KBCraig | 

    British airport security may have reached a new low for them, but it’s not uncharted territory. The news archives are rife with stories about U.S. grade-schoolers, usually aged 5-8, expelled from school under “zero tolerance” weapons rules for having similar “guns”.

  45. #45 |  Kayak2U Blog » Blog Archive » “There was no flexibility or common sense.” | 

    […]  Balko and elsewhere. MikeSoja – January 27, 2011 — 11:36 pm   Filed in: Endarkenment, Morons, […]

  46. #46 |  SJE | 

    Its not just guns in U.S. schools: a single tablet of ibuprofen, a small paring knife, T-shirts that say the wrong thing…etc.

  47. #47 |  Ian MacLeod | 

    No wonder we’re in trouble – these people aren’t just idiots, they’re totally INSANE! That what you get when you give unaccountable power to idiots. I would be unsurprised to learn one day that they’ve decided that the only way to keep America safe from people who travel is to stop ALL Americans from traveling and to keep travelers out of the country. Eventually these lobotomy cases would just forbid stepping out of your own house for ANY reason. People would starve? Too bad, but at least they’d be safe! Everyone would safe from each other, right?

    Good grief.

    Seriously, when even the supervisor makes that stupid a ruling, you have to conclude that there’s a fundamental flaw in the concept. If you’ve just got to keep the system, you might try making some obviously needed changes, starting with hiring people who have a little bit of discernment. What if the kid behind this passenger had pulled his Play Dough out into a cylinder? Would they confiscate it because it then looked too much like a gun? If not, then the first ruling was just as insane as the second would be!

    Ian

  48. #48 |  Ian MacLeod | 

    Law Prof wrote:
    “The danger level is exactly the same as that from a 7 inch stainless steel Cross pen (someone could stab you in the brain through your eye orbit). The pens are allowed as are knitting needles.

    So, BTW are the twin 72 inch paracord laces on my boots. Imagine what a graduate of infantry AIT could do with those. As my DI liked to shout “YOU are your primary weapon. YOU are never unarmed.”

    I’ve had senseis over the year say the same thing. I could do the same thing with a finger, or put my thumb through the temporal bone (thinnest bone in the body). Are they going to start confiscating fingers too now?

    Ian

  49. #49 |  thorn | 

    “…meanwhile…”

    ROFL. Best post ever! :D

  50. #50 |  This Week in Automotivators, January 24-30 « The TrogloPundit | 

    […] The Agitator. Picture found at Rather Childish, although it really […]

  51. #51 |  Political idiocies « Rturpin's Blog | 

    […] for a toy soldier. The political (not financial) idiocy came when its miniature, plastic rifle was confiscated at Gatwick Airport. Given the subject line, there has to be an obligatory link about Michele […]

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